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V 



ACE-193 
mvI-229 



UNITED STATES DEPARTI'lENT OF AGRICULTURE 
Agricultural Research Administration 

Bureau of Agricultural and Industrial Chemistry 



/I 



GRAIN SORGHUMS, THEIR PRODUCTS AITO USES 



' L I B RAH 'T I 

a 

i 
1. 1 a«^-»»;S!n ^ A; 




Prepared by 

W. M. Edwards, Junior Agr. Economist, 

and J. J. Curtis, Associate Agr. Technologist 

Commodity Development Division 

Northern Regional Research Laboratory 

Peoria, Illinois 



March 1943 



CO 






CONTENTS 

Page 

Introduction '2 

Botanical Description and Classification ' ' '''' ' ■ 2 

Origin ' ■ 4 

Production Development in the United States ' ' 5 

Structure and Composition of Kernel • '■ 5 

Hygroscopicity . ^ _ ■^■— -..^ 13- 

Waxy Sorghums " . I3 

Production and Variety Distribution of Sorghums 16 

Disposition of Sorghimi Grain 18 

Commercial Grades 23 

Relative Value as a Farm Crop 25 

Harvesting Grain Sorghums 25 

Uses 26 

Seed - - ■ ■ ' •■ ■ 26 

Feed 26 

Food 29 

Industrial Uses 33_ 

Starch 3I 

Alcohol 31 

Grain Sorghums Utilization Research 32 

Selected References 33 



1/ 



GRAIN SORGHUMS, THEIR FRODUCTS AIvID USESi- 



. _ INTRODUCTION 

The Northern Regional Research Laboratory' at Peoria, Illinois, is one of 
four large research laboratories established, under authority of the 
Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, by the Bureau of Agricultural Chem- 
istry and Engineering, U. S. Department of Agriculture to conduct re- 
searches into and to develop new scientific, chemical, and technical uses 
and new and extended markets and outlets for farm commodities and the 
products and byproducts thereof. The commodities originally designated 
for investigation in the Northern Regional Research Laboratory were wheat, 
corn, and agricultural residues. 

The purpose of this report is to present information concerning grain 
sorghums in order to show the essential relationship existing betv^een them 
and v^rheat and corn. Up to the present time grain sorghums have been an im- 
portant crop in the United States only in certain semi-arid regions and 
even there they are not an important cash crop. They arc used chiefly for 
feed on the farms where produced; consequently the quantity entering com- 
mercial channels and thence into industrial utilization is small. Research 
underway and contemplated by the Northern Regional Research Laboratory, 
Kansas State College, University of Nebraska, and elsewhere may lead to 
substantial uses for grain sorghums in industry. 

The basic information contained herein, showing the properties of grain 
sorghums, their present and possible uses, and their present position in 
the over-all agricultural economy, may contribute, it is believed, to the 
development of nevf industrial outlets for these grains or in extending 
their present uses. 

The sorghums, although ranking as a relatively minor crop from the stand- 
point of acreage, production, and trade, in both the United States and the 
world at large, are nevertheless an important crop in the agricultural 
economy of certain areas. They are admirably adapted to the semi-arid 
climatic conditions of the Great plains area and frequently produce grain 
and forage v;hen other crops fail. 

BOTMIGAL DESCRIPTION AND CLASSIFICATION 

Sorghums belong to the botanical genus Sorghum of the grass family 
Granincae. They are usually tall, robust plants Virith flat leaf blades 
and terminal panicles. There are two natural divisions of the genus 
Sorghum, grown as field crops in the United States. The one. Sorghum 
haleponsc (Johnson grass), in which the plants arc perennial with 20 



1/ This report is mainly a compilation of information taken from the 
selected references given herewith. 



chromosomes and creeping rhizomes , is of little importance except for pas- 
ture and hay. The other ^ Sorghum vulgare^ in which the plants are annual 
and have 10 chromosomes^ includes all of the cultivated sorghums. These 
latter are divided agronomically into four general groups: (1) grain 
sorghums; (2) sorgos (sweet or saccharine sorghums); (3) broomcorn; and 
(/+) grass sorghums. 

It is YiTith the sorghums grown and harvested primarily for grain that this 
report is chiefly concerned. These are principally the so-called grain 
sorghums, but include also certain members of the sorgo group which give 
good yields of grain. Moreover, the close relationship existing between 
all the sorghum groups, and the fact that their differences both as to 
grain production and juiciness and sweetness of stalk are largely a 
matter of degree, causes the distinction between and classification of 
some gra.in sorghum and sorgo varieties to be difficult and to some extent 
arbitrary. 

For purposes of identification a brief description of the various groups 
of sorghums f ollovfs : 

The so-called "grain sorghums" are grovm priraarily for gra.in and generally 
have larger seeds and produce seed more abundantly than the other sorghums. 
Their stalks have a lower sugar content, and are usually less juicy at 
maturity than those of the sorgos, although there is a wide range among 
varieties as regards this factor. Because of its drier stalk and lower 
sugar content grain sorghum forage is less palatable and nutritious for 
livestock than sorgo forage. The juiciness of a variety is closely cor- 
related with the color of the leaf midrib. Juicy varieties have a dull 
gray or cloudy midrib, whereas dry-stalked varieties have a pure vj'hitc 
midrib. Stalks of American grain sorghiuns usually range from 2-1/2 to 
6 feet in height. 

Some of the leading varieties of grain sorghums are as f o11ot;'s : 

Milo varieties: Dwarf Yellov^r, Double Dwarf Yellow, Beaver, Sooner, 
I'lTheatland, Colby, Day, Westland, Caprock, Plainsman. 

Kafir varieties: Blackhull, Rud, Pink, Davm, Sunrise, Reed, Club. 

Feterita varieties: Standard, Spur, Di^varf. 

Duira (Egyptian corn) varieties: V/hite, Brown, D-varf. (None of 
these any longer commercially import-^nt except in California). 

Miscellaneous varieties: Di.varf hegari, Darso, Schrock, Early kalo, 
Shallu, Altamont kaoliang, Bonita, Ajax, Grohoma, Freed, etc. 



The sorgoSj or sweet-stemmed sorghums, are grovm primarily for forage and 
to a lesser extent for sirup and for grain. The varieties differ consid- 
erably in height, date of maturity, and head and kernel characters; the 
stallcs usually range from 5 to 10 feet in height and the seeds are small 
to medium in size .and are either white or various shades of brown in color. 
Some of the leading varieties of sorgos are: Black Am.ber, Kansas Orange, 
Sumac, Honey, Red Amber, Atlas, Norkan and Leoti. 

In some parts of the United States, sorgo, or sweet sorghum, is often 
erroneously called sugarcane, sometimes vj-ith the prefix "seeded" to in- 
dicate that it is propagated by seeds instead of cuttings, as is the case 
with true sugarcane. The latter belongs to an altogether different botani- 
cal genus (Sacchar^om) of the grass family Gramineae. The sugarcane seed 
is quite different in appearance from either sorgo or grain sorghum seeds. 
Mature sugarcane seed is seldom produced by cultivated plants. 

Broomcorn produces heads with fibrous seed branches 12 to 36 inches long, 
which are used for making brooms. The stallrs range from 3 to L4 feet in 
height and are dry, not sweet, and of limited value for forage. Some of 
the leading broomcorn varieties are: Evergreen, Black Spanish, and 
Scarborough. 

The annual grass sorghums have narrow leaves and slender stalks and are 
grovm principally for hay and pasture. Included among these are: Sudan 
grass, Tunis grass, Tabucki grass, Toura grass, and Kamerun grass. Of 
these only Sudan grass is grown commercially in the United States. 

The perennial sorghum, Johnson Grass, is siT;iilar to Sudan grass except 
that it is perennial and has -underground stems. It is very prolific and 
on fertile ground may become a noxious weed because of the difficulty of 
its eradication. It crosses occasionally with Sudan grass and other 
sorghums but since it has 20 instead of the usual 10 pairs of chromosomes, 
only part of the crosses are fertile. 

ORIGIN 

Plant scientists generally believe that sorghums are native to Africa and 
India. Since these regions are thought also to have cradled the human 
race, it is reasonable to believe that sorghums were among the earliest 
of the wild plants to be domesticated and utilized as human food and live- 
stock feed. 

The oldest discovered evidence of their utilization is a carving on the 
palace walls of King Sennacherib in Nineveh, Assyria. The design dates 
from about 700 B. C. and shoivs a field of mature grain sorghum in which 
several hogs are grazing. There are records also of the presence of 
sorghum in India in the first century A. D. and in China in the thirteenth 
century. And today millions of Africans and Asiatics, who cannot afford 
vv'heat or rice, consume grain sorghums for food in the form of bread and 
porridge. An alcoholic drinl-c resembling beer -and a confection are also 



made from the grain. The stalks in some instances have served as a sub- 
stitute for wood fuel^ and have been used for making baskets, furniture, 
mats, shelter, fences, and toys. 

production Development in the United otates 

The first sorghums introduced into this country'' arrived on slave ships 
from Africa, during colonial tim_es. None of these, however, became per- 
manently established in our agricultural economy. The continuous culture 
of sorghums began in the United States in 1853 with the sorgos. 

In that year the sorgo, Chinese Amber, v/'hich had been sent to France from 
the island of Tsungming in China, vras introduced into the United States. 
Later, in 1357 Leonard vTray, an English sugar plantur in Natal, South 
Africa, brought 16 additional varieties of sorgo to /unerica and grev^r them 
in Georgia and South Carolina. All subsequent jimcrican sorgos have been 
developed from these 16 varieties and Chinese Amber, except the varieties 
Collier, Planter, and McLean sorgo vfhich were introduced between 1681 and 
1891 by the Department of Agriculture . 

The grain sorghums, I^Tiite durra and Brown durra, vfere introduced from 
Egi^T^t to California in 1874, and their success was the beginning of our 
continued and expanding grain sorghums culture. V/hite kafir. Red leaf ir, 
Milo, Shallu, Pink -jcafir, Feterita, and Hegari were later introduced and 
these, plus the 20 previously mentioned sorgo varieties, vfere the progeni- 
tors of tlie more than 80 distinct varieties of grain sorghums and sorgos 
now grovm commercially in the United States. 

STRUCTURE A!JD COMPOSITION OF KERNEL 

Basically the sorghum kernel resembles other cereal grains in both struc- 
ture, (see figure 1) and composition. Structurally it consists of three 
parts: the pericarp or seed coat, the endosperm, and the em.bryo or germ. 
Although differing according to variety, the pericarp of a typical grain 
variety constitutes about 6 percent by weight of the average kernel, the 
endosperm about 3/|. percent, and the germ about 10 percent. 

The pericarp is responsible for the seed color and is com.posed of several 
differentiated layers of cells. (See figure 2.) The pigmentation or 
color is carried in tv;o distinct layers, (1) the cpicarp, or outer layer, 
and (2) the nucellar layer!./ which lies next to the alcurone layer of the 
endosperm. The nucellar layer is absent in some varieties, but when 
present is reddish brown in color. Botvireen the epicarp and th.e nucellar 
layer is a starchy layer of cells called the mcsocarp. This layer may be 
either thick or thin. If thick, it obscures the color of the nucellar 
layer. If the mesocarp is vestigial in development, the pigment in the 



2/ Considered by Ay;^'"angar and Krishnaswami to be inner integument, 



nucellar cells is visible in varying degrees of intensity througli the 
pericarp. The epicarp inay or may not form a pigment according to the 
variety. YiJhen no color occurs in the epicarp simultaneously with an ab- 
sent or obscured nucellar layer ^ a white -colored seed results. The many 
combinations of factors which influence color in the sorghum kernel may, 
therefore, result in roumerous colors. The colors listed in the descrip- 
tions of sorghum kernels are white, chalk^'- v/hite, pink, ycllovf, red, buff 
or broivnish-yellcav, brown, and rcddish-brovm. Some vfhite-seeded varieties 
also have pinl-c, red, brovm, or black spots. 

The endosperm com.prises the bulk of the kernel and, therefore, its proper- 
ties and characteristics in large m.easure determine the utility and value 
of the kernel. It consists mainly of starch which may be of sugary, waxy, 
or non-vj"axy (common) character. 

Varieties having sugary endosperm are a rarity, but have been bred and pro- 
duced in this country by crossing adapted American varieties with a foreign 
sugary strain. lYaxj^ stCyTch-bearing sorghums, although not new in the United 
States, have received very little attention until recently. They now give 
promise of becoming important because of the unusual properties of their 
starch. The non-vfaxy starch varieties are the most conimon and their starch 
resembles that of other cereal grains. The endosperm of non-v/axy kernels 
consists of an outer corneous portion and an inner chaTiC/ or soft-starchy 
portion. The endosperm of waxy kernels, although waxy throughout, is also 
divided into hard outer and softer inner portions. The relative amount of 
the corneous portion in the kernel of all sorghums is to som.e extent a 
varietal characteristic, although it is considerably influenced by envi- 
ronment. 

The germ of a typical grain sorghum contains approximately 70 percent of 
the fat and 13 percent of the protein present in the entire kernel. 

The size of sorgh\im kernels varies widely, the sorgos generally producing 
smaller seeds than tlie grain sorghums. Figure 3 shows the shape and mark- 
ings of various varieties. In general, the small seeds weigh about 8 to 
11 gram.s per thousand, medium-sized seeds weigh-- from 12 to 24 grams per 
thousand, and large seeds usually weigh from^ 25 to 35 grams per thousand. 
Occasional lots of large-seeded feterita or milo weigh over 40 grams per 
thousand seeds . 

Table 1 shows the average chemical composition, weight per 1000 kernels, 
and weight per bushel of seven varieties of grain sorghu:ns as com-pared 
with dent corn. It is apparent from, these data that grain sorghui.is con- 
tain more protein, but are lovrer in both fiber and fat content than corn. 
In table 2 is shown the proportion of the kernel and chemical composition 
of the bran, endosperm, and germ portions of the kernels of three grain 
sorghum varieties. Table 3 presents additional chemical composition data 
for 9 sorghums. Results of physical and chemical determinations uiadfe by the 
Northern Regional Research Laboratory on 26 samples of sorghum seed, rep- 
resenting 21 varieties, are shown in tables 4 and 5. 



fJOMMON SUltCTTTIM VARIETIES 




^^ 






J? 








EMBRYO 



STARCHY 
ENDOSPERM 



CORNEOUS 
ENDOSPERM 



WAXY 
ENDOSPERM 



Figure 1. - Outline drawings of dorsoventral and lateral 
cross sections of sorghum seed, showing variations in 
(1) size and shape, (2) proportion of outer corneous 
and inner soft starch in endosperm, and (3) size and 
shape of embryo: A, Standard feterita; B, Standard Yel- 
low milo; C, Blackhull kafir; D, hegari; E, Orange sor- 
go; F, Sumac sorgoj G, Sapling sorgoj H, Gooseneck sor- 
go (endosperm waxy) . 



N 




XL 


6l, 


3§..--C 


c— 


p. d 


d" 


W e 




~-~~^ 


3^' 




E 




Figure 2. - Diagrammatic sections of the seed coats of five sorghum 
varieties: a. Cuticle; b, epidermis; c, hypoderm; d, mesocarp; 
e, nucellar layer; f, aleurone layer; g, endosperm. A, Feterita; 
colorless epidermis and hypoderm, highly developed mesocarp, and 
nucellar layer; B, Red Amber; colored epidermis and hypoderm, thin 
mesocarp, nucellar layer; C, Blackhull kafir; colorless epidennis 
and hypoderm, thin mesocarp, and nucellar layer absent except for 
slight remnauits; D, Yellow milo; colored epidermis and hypoderm, 
thin mesocarp, nucellar layer absent; E, Freed sorgo and Tfhite 
milo; colorless epidermis and h3rpoderm, thin mesocarp, nucellar 
layer absent 





% t :t| 


'^0 fS0 ^ ^ <^ 




BLACKHULL KAFIR -EDKAFiR [-ir.KKAFiR 


CAW.M KAFIH 




y% 



0^ #.0<> 



CLUe KAFiR 



DWARF YELLOW MILO 



SOONER 



BEAVER 



^ '^ # O <l • 9 f 



;-;^ ^ 



DAY 



WESTLAND 



WHEATLAND 



HEGARI 



FETERITA 



i^ij^'fW^tf^n'. 



O^t ^o^ t#| 




.?^ 



SHALLU 




FETERITA 
(Sugary Endosperm) 



FREED 



^^^r I^WI ^W 



EARLY KALO 



DARSO 



^^P^^ 



WHI^E CURRA 



>|-^' ■ -^ 



BROWN LUHRA 



* %M, 



^m ^ 



ATLAS SOhGG 



KmNoAS ORArjGE SORGO BLACK AMBER SORGO 



EA^^! :^MA: IJKGO 



iSiMr 



f #• 



EOT! SORGO 
( Woxy) 




GOOSENF :k 
(Waxy) 



FIGURE 3.- SHAPE AND RELATIVE SIZES OF THE SEED OF 28 
VARIETIES OF SORGHUM. (X2) 



Chemical analytical data pertaining to the hulls removed, b^^ hand, from a 
sample of Leoti sorghum are as follows: 

Moisture-free basis 
Determination Percent 



Ash 


7.66 


Si02 


6.59 


Hot water soluble 


9.6 


l/t allcali soluble 


50.1 


Alcohol-benzene soluble 


12.1 


Benzene extract 


1.1 


95^ alcohol extract 


11.3 


Nitrogen 


.58 


Crude lignin 


16.6 


Nitrogen in crude lignin 


l.U 


Methoxyl in crude lignin 


8.5 


Ash-free lignin 


12.8 


Pentosans 


32.8 


Cross & Bevan cellulose, crude 


56.0 



8 



Table 1 - Average chemical composition, weight per 1000 kernels, and weight 
per bushel of seven grain sorghum varieties V, compared with 
dent corn. 





iNo.of 




Moistuj 


re-free 


basis 




- Weight 


per - 








:Carbo- 






1000 




Variety 


:anal- 


: Ash 


:Pro- 


: h7- 


: Fat 


: Fiber - 


ker- 






'yses 




:tein 


:drates 






nels 


Bushel 




' 67 


[percent 


Percent 
13.83 


Percent 
79.28 


Percent 
3.47 


Percent 
1.63 


Grams 
36.1 


Pounds 


Milo 


• 1.79 


58.1 


Dwarf milo 


: 55 


1.80 


13.42 


79.55 


3.61 


1.62 


31.4 


58.2 


Feterita 


8 


1.90 


15.4-8 


77.77 


3.21 


1.64 


32.2 


55.9 


Blackhull kafir 


• 78 


. 1.97 


15.59 


76.85 


3.84 


1.75 


21.6 


58.0 


Dwarf blackhull 


















kafir 


: 13 


1.89 


14.53 


78.28 


3.61 


1.69 


16.6 


58.7 


Red kafir 


• 37 


• 1.91 


13.28 


79.64 


3.50 


1.67 


18.5 


58.3 


Shallu 


• 10 


2.21 


16.93 


74.60 


4.12 


2.14 


15.1 


57.9 


Average of all 


















varieties 


. 268 


1.88 


14.38 


78.41 


3.64 


1.69 


26.6 


58.1 


Dent corn 


86 


• 1.68 


11.52 


78.75 


5.59 


2.46 2/316.7 


2/ 59.6 



1/ Samples grown at the Amarillo Cereal Field Station for the five years 
I9O8-I912, except the Shallu samples which virere grovm only in 1911 and 
1912. 

2/ Corn weights compiled and computed on 86 samples of dent corn from 
records of Northern Regional Research Laboratory. 



Source: Uses of sorghum grain. By C. R. Ball and B. E. Rothgeb, 
U. S. Dept. Agr. Farmers 3ul. 686, 1915. 



Table 2 - Proportions of component parts of whole grain or kernel and chemi- 
cal composition of the whole kernel and its parts, for three grain 
sorghum varieties. (Moisture-free basis). 





:Propor- 










: Nitre-- 




Variety and compo- 


: tion 




Ether 




Crude 


: gen 


,."■ 


nent part of kernel 


: of 
: kernel 


Ash 


extract 


Protein 


fiber 


: free 
: extract 


Starch 




: Percent 


Percent 


Percent 


Percent 


Percent 


Percent 


Percent 


Davvn kafir: 






Tvhole grain 


1 100.0 


1.80 


4.10 


12.70 


1.80 


79.60 


61.90 


Bran 


: 6.1 


2.00 


6.30 


4.80 


16.20 


70.20 


— 


Corneous endo- 
















sperm 


48.9 


.30 


.70 


14.50 


.70 


83.80 


68.80 


Starchy endosperm - 


35.0 


.30 


.80 


11.66 


.SO 


86.44 


70.40 


Germ 


10.0 


13.20 


31.50 


19.30 


3.80 


32.20 


— 


Dvrarf milo: 
















IfJhole grain "^~_^_; 


•^ 100.0 


1.89 


3.47 


13.99 


1.93 


78.72 


68.52 


Bran 


5.5 


3.07 


4.33 


7.08 


15.36 


70.16 


1.60 


Corneous endo- 
















sperm 


54.7 


.56 


.15 


15.11 


.69 


83.49 


72.24 


Starchy endosperm 


28.7 


.71 


.28 


3.91 


.81 


89.29 


82.50 


Germ ... 


11.1 


9.46 


19.92 


20.84 


9.11 


40.67 


1.53 


Feterita: 






-■ .. '■ . . 










7/hole grain 


100.0 


1.79 


3.06 


16.69 


2.22 


76.24 


64.16 


Bran ; 


6, o 


2.95 


5.74 


6.85 


13.56 


70.90 


3.89 


Corneous endo- : 
















spem ; 


61.0 


.71 


.33 


19.75 


2.12 


77.09 


60.36 


. Starchy endosperm ; 


25.1 


.96 


.64 


10.61 


2.38 


65.41 


75.84 


Germ : 


7.3 


11.35 


25.45 


21.70 


3.54 


32.96 


2.16 



Source: A physical and chemical study of milo and fctorita kernels. 
By G. L. Bidvfell, et al, U. S. Dept. Agr. Eul. 1129, 1922. 



10 



Table 3 - Chemical composition of the grain of 9 sorghums, 



(Moisture-free basis) 













: Nitrogen- 


Class 


• Crude : 


Ash : 


Ether 


: Crude 


free 




protein : 




extract 


: fiber 


■ extract 


■-- - 


• Percent 


Percent 


Percent 


Percent 


Percent 


IVTiite kafir 


10.08 


1.44 


4.04 


2.05 


82.39 


Red kafir 


11.25 


1.43 


5.40 


1.81 


80.11 


Yellow milo 


12. 9S 


1.34 


4.77 


1.94 


78.97 


Brown Kaoliang ; 


15.73 


1.84 


6.10 


1.71 


74.62 


Darso • 


9.33 


1.27 


4.19 


1,71 


83.50 


Feterita 


U.52 


1.28 


5.10 


2.04 


77.06 


Freed sorgo : 


14.47 


1.78 


5.06 


1.65 


77.04 


Shallu ^. ■ : 


10. 2S 


1.40 


4.54 


2.29 


81.49 


Schrock " 


9.72 


1.33 


5.92 


2.26 


80.77 



Source: Respiration of sorghum grains. By D. A. Coleman^ et al. 
U. S. Dept. Agr. Tech. Bui. 100. 



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13 



Hygroscopic! ty 

The sorghiim grains, like all other cereal grains, lose moisture to the 
atmosphere, or gain moisture from it, until the moisture of the grain is 
in equilibrium with the humidity of the air. Data showing the moisture 
content of the grain of nine sorghums vihen in equilibrium with atmospheres 
of different relative humidities are presented in table 6. 

In comparing the hygroscopicity of sorghum grain mth that of other cereal 
grains it vras found to be not greatly different. These comparative data 
are presented in table 7. - ,, 

Waxy Sorghums 

Vfaxy sorghums are clearly distinguished from the non-vifaxy varieties by 
the iodine test. Vifhen an aqueous solution of potassium iodide and iodine 
or of iodine alone is applied, the starch of the endosperm of wax;/ sorghima 
seeds stains red or reddish-brown, whereas that of non-waxy seeds gives a 
typical blue reaction. In this connection it is of interest to note that 
in the waxy seeds only the starch present in the endosperm stains red 3 
starch present in the pericarp and the germ stains blue. Furthermore, the 
starch of stalks of wa^y varieties stains blue. Split sorghum kernels 
stain ¥irith more difficulty than do split corn kernels, apparently because 
the sorghum endosperm is so closely packed with starch, etc. It is best 
when testing for waxiness, therefore, to stain a bit of starch scraped 
from the endosperm exposed in splitting. ,^ : 

In external appearance the waxy sorghum seeds resemble the other varieties 
except that they have a duller colored seed coat. Yjlien cut in tvro vj-ith a 
knife, however, the \7.a3cy seed may be distinguished from the non-v/axy seed 
because the cut is more easily made and the break is accompanied by a 
muffled rather than a sharp sound. Their endosperm texture also is singu- 
larly different from that of non-waxy sorghums. It presents a waxj^, or 
opaque, surface as contrasted to the hard, translucent corneous area 
surrounding the crumbly starch endosperm region 01 non-waxy varieties. 

Sorghum varieties having waxy seeds have been grown in the United States 
since 1854-;, but have elicited very little interest until recently. They 
were introduced from China, v;here v/axj' sorghums, rice, barley, and millet 
have been grovm for centuries. In that countr^^ they are kno'wn as 
"glutinous" 5orgh"ums, corn, etc., and are used as a delicacy during festi- 
vals. 

The Bureau of Plant Industry, through its Division of plant Exploration 
and Introduction, introduced some of these "glutinous" varieties some years 
ago but they did not prove to be as productive as our domestic grain 
sorghums. In 1921, however, a Bureau investigator determined that certain 
"glutinous" sorghums from the Orient had the same type of endosperm charac- 
ter as did the waxy corn also introduced from the Orient a few years 
previously. About 13 years later another Bureau investigator tested all 



14 



Table 6 - Equilibrium moisture content of nine varieties of sorghum grain 
exposed to atmospheres of different relative humidities at a 
■temperature of 25° to 28° C. 





Average 


moisture contents when 


atmospheric relative 


Variety 




humidity 


percentag 


•e is - 








13.8 : 


31.0 


■ 43.0 


: 59.0 : 


76.0 


: 87.0 : 


100.0 




: Percent 


percent 


Percent 


Percent 


Percent 


Percent 


percent 


lYhite kafir 


6.78 


9.59 


11.36 


13.41 


18.95 


22.15 


26.71 


Red kafir 


: 6.53 


9.55 


11.80 


13.69 


18.60 


21 99 


28.22 


Yellow milo 


• 6.54 


9.57 


11.74 


13.48 


17.95 


22.00 


27.34 


Brown kaoliang 


■ 6.57 


9.39 


11.30 


13.02 


18.08 


21.50 


28.19 


Darso 


6.82 


9.34 


11.45 


13.56 


18.92 


22.25 


28.49 


Feterita 


6.69 


9.64 


11.37 


13.41 


17.82 


22.39 


27.03 


Freed sorgo 


6.45 


9.22 


11.19 


13.06 


17.52 


21.97 


28.30 


Shallu 


6.69 


9.79 


11.77 


13.66 


18.85 


22.28 


27.45 


Schrock 


6.79 


9.45 


11.45 


13.53 


19.04 


22.13 


28.60 



Average 



6.65 



9.50 11.49 13.42 18.41 22.07 



28.04 



Source: Respiration of sorghum grains. By D. A. Coleman, et al. 
U. S. Dept. Agr. Tech. Bui. 100 

Table 7 - Equilibrium moisture contents of sorghum grain and other cereal 
grains exposed to atmospheres of different relative humidities 
at a temperature of 25° to 28° C. 





Average 


moisture contents when 


atmosphe 


ric rela 


tive 


Grain ; 




humidity 


percenta^ 


^e is - 








15.0 : 


30.0 


: 45.0 


: 60.0 


: 75.0 : 


90.0 : 


100.0 




Percent 


Percent 


Percent 


Percent 


Percent 


Percent 


percent 


Sorghum grain 


• 6.95 


9.42 


11.99 


15.00 


18.25 


24.98 


28.03 


Corn 


! 7.09 


9.25 


11.39 


14.52 


16.79 


23.12 


31.22 


Waeat 


7.03 


9.34 


10.99 


13.81 


17.30 


24.82 


34.38 


Barley 


! 6.45 


9.24 


11.16 


13.74 


16.88 


24.17 


36.65 


Rye 


: 7.49 


9.58 


11.72 


13.94 


17.41 


25.92 


36.51 


Oats 


: 6.03 


8.76 


10.60 


13.40 


16.05 


22.65 


31.71 


Rice 


• 7.27 


9.92 


12.00 


14.38 


16.86 


22.15 


30.85 


Buclcvfheat 


• 7.17 


9.99 


12.18 


14.52 


17.61 


23.63 


32.47 



Source: Respiration of sorghum grains. By D. A. Coleman, et al. 
U. S. Dept. Agr. Tech. Bui. 100 



15 



the important American commercial varieties of sorghum and found that 
several of them had vraxy seed. 

The commercial vraxy varieties of sorghums are Leoti and McLean sorgos^ cer- 
tain strains of Gooseneck sorgo, and a brown-seeded grain sorghum called 
Schrock or Sagrain. About 60 acres of a new vraxy kafir and smaller areas 
of other vtaxy varieties v/ere groivn in 1942. 

Possible special food or industrial uses for -viaxy sorghum have been con- 
sidered for about 10 years, but commercial interest was lacking until the 
outbreak of v;ar in the Pacific shut off imports of cassava root starches. 
However, about 193B cooperative investigations at the lovira Agricultural 
Experiment Station revealed that starch from waxy corn and waxy sorghum had 
properties similar to those of tapioca and s^/eetpotato starches. Informa- 
tion gained from further tests at the Northern Regional Research Laboratory, 
at the Nebraska Agricultural Experiment Station, and elsewhere, and the re- 
cent threatened shortage of tapioca starch, have stimulated the present 
interest in the commercial possibilities of wax^j sorghum. 

The present (1942) distribution of \'rajcy sorghum production in the United 
States is not fully known. Most of the acreage consists of the Leoti varie- 
ty grovm for forage, largely in Nebraska and Kansas, and to some extent in 
other States. About 100,000 acres of Leoti were grovm in 1942. The large 
acreage of Leoti has resulted from the purification, testing and distribu- 
tion of tlie variety by the Department in cooperation v/ith the Kansas and 
Nebraska Agricultural Experiment Stations. Schrock, known also as Sagrain, 
is grovm for grain or forage chiefly in Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, 
Arkansas, and Kansas. McLean and Gooseneck sorgos are grovm mostly for 
sirup on scattered areas in the South. 

The agricultural division of the United States patent Office grevY a crop of 
waxy Chinese Amber sorgo on the Mall in "i^ashington, D. C., in 1856, and 
distributed 275 bushels of seed to farmers in 1857. This vras the first 
crop of any kind that Yv-'as grovm by a Federal agricultural agency. 

Waxy sorghum may be processed for starch in a manner similar to that used 
for the commercial production of corn starch. Varieties containing a 
nucellar layer (see page 5) present m.ore processing difficulties than those 
which have no nucellar layer, since the pigment always present in the nu- 
cellar layer tends to be adsorbed upon the starch. Modified milling and 
processing methods have, however, been developed vfhich permit recovery of 
uncolored starch from pigmented sorghums. It is believed, therefore, that 
wax;^" sorghums offer a possibility for meeting immediate requirements for 
ViTaxy starch during the present emergency. lYaxy uncolored grain types with- 
out a nucellar layer are also being developed, from which starch can be 
extracted v;ith even less modification of existing:- m.ethods. 



16 



PRODUCTION MB VARIETY DISTRIBUTION OF SORSiUMS 

Grain sorghum production is concentrated in the Great Plains area. Asso- 
ciated with the low and unevenly distributed rainfall of this region are 
relatively high sinraner temperatures, generally low atmospheric humidity, 
high wind velocity, and a large proportion of clear days, all of which con- 
tribute to a high rate of evaporation and a decrease in tlie effectiveness 
of rainfall. The structure of the sorghum plant, vj-hich enables it to with- 
stand these unfavorable grov/ing conditions, makes it particularly suited to 
this region. Its root system is composed of many fine roots capable of ex- 
tracting most of the available moisture from the soil. Transpiration, or 
loss of plant moisture to the atmosphere, of the sorghum plant is relative- 
ly low otring to its comparatively small leaf area (about 1/3 less than that 
of corn), to a waxy bloom on the leaves and sheaths, and to an ability of 
the leaves to roll up v.'-hen diy conditions prevail. The sorghum plant also 
has the ability to suspend growth during severe periods of drouth and to re- 
sume growth v>rhen conditions permit. In addition, sorgh^am grain is, after 
its formation on the plant, less susceptible to damage by hot v/eather than 
is the case with corn. 

In the southern part of the Great Plains, rainfall is the limiting grovfth 
factor, v/hile in the northern Great Plains, length of growing season as 
determined by temperature is the lim.iting factor in grain sorghum produc- 
tion. Tlie optimum temperature for sorghum growth is estimated at about 
92° F. mth only indifferent grovfth being made at temperatures lower than 
60° F. Altitude with certain modifications is also a production-limiting 
factor, the upper limit of successful sorghum production varies with the 
latitude from about 4,000 feet in llontana to 7,000 feet in southern 
Ne'w Mexico. 

The Great Plains area leads in sorghum production and the States forming 
its eastern boundarj^ rank practically in descending order from south to 
north, in both grain sorghum and sorgo acreage, as follows: Texas, Kansas, 
Oklahoma, Nebraska, and South Dakota. (See table 8.) Colorado and 
Nevf Mexico, on the western boundary of the Great Plains, are next in im- 
portance. In all States where sorghums are grovm, except California and 
Arizona, the major portion of the acreage is for forage. Nebraska and 
South Dakota assumed importance as grain sorghum producing States only \fith- 
in the past decade. This was due to the failure, because of drouth in this 
area, of corn and tlie small grain crops in almost every year of the 1930-39 
decade. Coincident with this, earlier-maturing varieties of sorghum adapt- 
ed to the relatively short growing season of those States have beon de- 
veloped and their production encouraged. The use of sorghuia for silage in- 
creased sharply between 1930 and 1940. In 1930, approximately 106,000 
acres of sorghum were utilized for silage, in 1940 about 1,233,000 acres 
were utilized for this purpose. In figure 4 is shown the distribution of 
the acreage of sorghum harvested for grain in 1939. 

Sorghums can also be grovm successfully in the Corn Belt and in tlie South- 
eastern States. Other crops, however, are relatively more profitable in 



17 



Table 8 - Harvested acreage of sorghums for grain and for forage in the 
principal producing States and total for the United States, 
crops of 194-0 and 1941, and average for 1930-39. 









Acreage harvested lor 


— 






State 


Grain 1/ 




Foraj 


.e ±1 






Total 






'Average 


: : 




Average : 


: 




Average 


: : 






> 1930-39 


:1940: 


1941: 


1930-39 : 


1940: 


1941 S 


1930-39 


: 1940: 


1941 




Thousand acr 


•es 


Thousand acres 


Thous 


and acres 


Missouri ; 


51 


70 


49 


239 


256 


235 


290 


326 


284 


South Dakota ; 


— 


172 


250 


318 


990 


962 


318 


1162 


1212 


Nebraska 


63 


464 


226 


460 


1315 


1000 


523 


1779 


1226 


Kansas 


796 


1697 


1275 


1241 


1969 


1464 


2037 


3666 


2739 


Arkansas : 


12 


13 


8 


118 


105 


82 


130 


118 


90 


Oklahoma ; 


S06 


900 


667 


977 


1248 


1191 


1783 


2148 


1858 


Texas 


1957 


2355 


2839 


2888 


4357 


3882 


4845 


6712 


6721 


Colorado ; 


80 


202 


170 


348 


673 


742 


428 


875 


912 


Nev/ Mexico ; 


152 


U5 


241 


222 


291 


236 


374 


436 


477 


Arizona j 


24 


21 


46 


6 


6 


6 


30 


27 


52 


California 


108 


135 


204 


— 


— 


— 


108 


135 


204 


Illinois 


— 


— 


— 


8 


10 


7 


8 


10 


7 


Iowa 


— 


— 


— 


41 


73 


49 


41- 


73 


49 


North Dakota : 


— 


— 


— 


44 


187 


153 


44 


187 


153 


Virginia : 


— 


— 


— 


4 


4 


3 


4 


4 


3 


North Carolina 


— 


— 


— 


22 


14 


14 


22 


U 


14 


South Carolina < 


— 


— 


— 


20 


15 


12 


20 


15 


12 


Georgia 


: 


— 


— 


41 


39 


35 


41 


39 


35 


Kentucl^y 


— 


— 


— 


47 


30 


31 


47 


30 


31 


Tennessee 


— 


— 


— 


58 


39 


39 


58 


39 


39 


Alabama 


— 


— 


— 


33 


28 


32 


33 


28 


32 


Mississippi 


— 


— 


— 


29 


28 


22 


29 


28 


22 



Total 


: 4049 


6174 5975 


7164 


11677 10197 


11213 


17851 16172 


United States 


: 4083 


6183 5982 


7208 


11761 10276 


11291 


17944 16258 



1/ Consists of all sorghums (grain sorghums and sorgos) threshed, combined, 
or headed for grain. 

2/ Consists of all sorghums (grain sorghums and sorgos) cut for silage, 
hay, or fodder (cut and fed without removing the heads), or grazed. 



Source: Bureau of Agricultural Economics, U. S. Dept. Agr, 



18 



these sections; consequentl3^ the sorghums are grovm to only a limited ex- 
tent. The sorghums gro'ivn in these areas are used almost entirely for 
forage except for the 200,000 to 300,000 acres grovm annually for sirup, 
chief l^r in the Deep South. Sirup production from sorghum amounts to 
around 12 million gallons annually. 

Table 9 shov:s, by States, the United States acreage, yield, and production 
of grain sorghums. Harvested acreage averaged approximately L, m.illion 
acres for the years 1930-39 and increased to 6.0 million acres in 194-1. 
Production likevfise increased from an average of 52.7 million bushels for 
the 1930-39 period to 111.8 million bushels in 1941. Texas, the leading 
state, harvested over 2.8 million acres of grain sorghums in 1941 j Kansas 
harvested 1.3 million acres; Oklahoma harvested 667,000 acres; each of the 
other States harvested less than one-quarter million acres of sorghuras for 
grain. 

Data regarding the distribution of sorghum acreages 'hj varieties have not 
been collected on a nation-wide basis since 1925, when a surve3^ dealing 
with 1924 acreages v^as conducted by the United States Depariment of Agri- 
culture in the sections of the United States known to produce an appreci- 
able acreage. In this survey no account vras taken as to how the crops Y/ere 
used, whether for grain or for forage. The results of the survey are shown 
in table 10 for grain sorghum varieties, and in table 11 for sorgo varie- 
ties. As v/ill be noted from table 10, kafirs and milos were by far the 
most v^idely distributed grain sorghum varieties and vrere grown on the 
largest acreages. This continues to be the case today (194-2). Hov/ever, 
changes in the acreage of some of the less important varieties have un- 
doubtedly occurred. For example, Schrock, a waxy variety, was gro^Tn on a 
ver^'- limited scale in 1924-, but it is reported that in recent years a con- 
siderable acreage of this variety has been gro^'m in South Texas. Also 
several nev/ varieties have been developed which have become commercially 
important . 

Among the sorgos, Sumac, Black Anber, and Orange accounted for over two- 
thirds of the total United States acreage. (See table 11.) The first two 
named vrere grown in all of the principal producing states. The vfaxy varie- 
ties, Gooseneck, Leoti, and McLean, were grown on a very small acreage in 
1924- As previously mentioned, there has been a considerable increase 
since that time in Leoti acreage, especially in Nebraska vihere approximate- 
ly 100,000 acres were gro'ivn in 1942 £/. No expansion in Gooseneck and 
McLean acreages has been reported. 

DISPOSITION OF SORGHUM GRAIN 

The farm disposition of sorghum grain for the years 1930 to 1941 is shovm 
in table 12. For these 12 years, the quantity of grain sold off farm of 
production averaged 15.3 percent of production, or a little over 14 million 

3/ According to a cooperative survey conducted in that state by the Nebraska 
Agr. Expt. Sta. and the Office of the State-Federal Agricultural Statisti- 
cian. 



19 



Table 9 - Acreage harvested, j.^ield, and production of grain sorghums _/ 
harvested for grain in the principal producing states, crops 
of 191,0 and 1941, average for 1930-39. 





; Acreage 


harve 


;sted: 


Yield 


per acre : 


production 




State 


►Average 


: ; 




Average 


: 




Average 


: 


: 




: 1930-39 


:1940: 


1941: 


1930-39 


:1940 


:1941: 


1930-39 


: 1940 


; 1941 




Thousand acres 


13.4 


;hels 
20.9 


18.9 


Thousand bush 
755 1464 


els 


Missouri 


51 


70 


49 


926 


South Dakota 


— 


172 


250 





9.4 


10.4 


— 


1622 


2610 


Nebraska 


63 


464 


226 


11.2 


10.4 


15.7 


677 


4835 


3553 


Kansas 


795 


1697 


1275 


9.8 


12.8 


17.2 


8656 


21796 


21885 


Arkansas 


12 


13 


8 


11.4 


17.8 


15.3 


142 


232 


126 


Oklahoma 


806 


900 


667 


9.2 


11.5 


12.0 


7652 


10314 


7982 


Texas 


1957 


2355 


2839 


13. B 


14.4 


20.4 


27678 


34003 


57976 


Colorado 


80 


202 


170 


8.5 


9.4 


13.2 


693 


1892 


2237 


New Mexico : 


152 


145 


241 


11.7 


9.5 


22.9 


1870 


1375 


5522 


Arizona 


24 


21 


46 


29.0 


26.5 


32.0 


698 


556 


1472 


California : 


108 


135 


204 


32.6 


36.0 


36.0 


3557 


4360 


7344 


Total 


4049 


6174 


5975 


12.9 


13.4 


18.7 


52378 


82954 


111633 


United States \ 


4083 


6183 


5982 


12.9 


13.5 


18.7 


52747 


83164 111784 



1/ Intended to include only grain sorghum varieties, but may include some 
production of sorgo varieties such as Atlas because of the fact that in 
some areas farmers report them as grain sorghmns. 



Source: Bureau of Agricultural Economics. U. S. Dept. Agr. 



20 



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22 



Table 12 - Production of grain sorghums tJ , fanri disposition, and exports. 
United States^ 1930-41. 







F 


ann disposition 






, Feed 3/. 








Year 


Production for 
• all purposes 2/ 


; and : 
seed : 


Sc 


)ld U 


Exports i! 




Quantity 


: proportion 






1000 bu. 


1000 bu. 


1000 bu. 


Percent 


1000 bu. 


1930 


: 62570 


55721 


6849 


10.9 




1931 : 


: 113649 


96894 


16755 


14.7 




1932 


109745 


97110 


12635 


11.5 




1933 : 


82685 


71371 


113U 


13.7 




1934 : 


40225 


37949 


2276 


5.7 




1935 : 


98495 


86258 


12237 


12.4 


6/ 1857 


1936 : 


55079 


48698 


6381 


11.6 


2 


1937 ; 


97679 


79354 


18325 


18.8 


Z^ 


1938 ; 


99136 


83553 


15583 


15.7 


ol5 


1939 : 


83264 


71446 


11818 


14.2 


2 


1940 : 


127894 


104039 


23855 


18.7 


1 


1941 7/ : 


153968 


119939 


34029 


22.1 


8/ 



Average 



93699 



79361 



14338 



15.3 



1/ For all purposes. 

2/ Includes grain equivalent on forage acreage. 

3/ Relates to quantities used on farms where produced. Additional quanti- 
ties of purchased grain sorghums are so utilized. 

4/ Includes grain sorghums sold to other farmers for livestock feed, as 
well as grain sorghums sold for commercial utilization. 

5/ Included in grain sorghums sold. 

6/ 1931-35 average. 

7/ Preliminary. 

8/ Not available. 

Sources: Agricultural Marketing Administration, U. S. Dept. Agr. 
Bureau of the Census, U. S. Depart. Comm. 



23 



bushels. 

Texas accounts for the* largest aruount of grain sold off farm of production, 
whereas California accounts for the largest percentage sold. The latter 
fact is probably due to the Y/ide-spread use of sorghum grain for feed by , 
the large commercial poultry raisers in California. 

• 

Very little sorghum grain enters into international trade. The 1931-35 
annual average exports (see table 12) amounted to 1.9 million bushels. 
Since 1935^ exports have been practically non-existent, totaling only one 
thousand bushels in 19^0. 

The ten leading grain sorghum markets and the quantities of sorghum grain 
received by rail at these points in 19^1 follow: 

Quantity of sorghum 

Market grain received by rail, 

~ 1941 calendar year 

Bushels 

Kansas City, Mo. and Kansas . 2,893,200 

Fort Vforth, Texas 2,625,000 ^ ■ 

, Lubbock, Texas 1,563,800 • • ':■ 

Amarillo, Texas 1,450,400 

Hutchinson, Kansas 1,115,800 

Los Angeles, California 1,040,200 

Dallas, Texas 749,000 

Dodge City, Kansas 365,400 

Sherman, Texas 274,400 

Houston, Texas 222,600 

(Data furnished by the Grain Products Branch, 
Food Distribution Administration, USDA) 

These figures do not include receipts by truck. 

Table 13 shovis thfe average farm prices of grain sorghums in the principal 
grain sorghum producing states as compared vfith farm prices of corn. 

Commercial Gr ades 

For marketing purposes grain sorghums are divided by the official Grain 
Standards of the United States into five classes: Class I, Vifhite Grain 
Sorghums 3 Class II, Yellow Grain Sorghums; Class III, Red Grain Sorghums,* 
Class IV, Brown Grain Sorghums; and Class V, Mixed Grain Sorghums. These 
classes are broken dovm into subclasses as follovi^s: Class I — \Ihlte Kafir, 
White Durra, and IVhite Grain Sorghums; Class II — Yellow Milo and Yellow 
Grain Sorghums; and Class III — Red Kafir and Red Grain Sorghums. Under 
each class or subclass, as the case may be, there are five grades, e.g., No.l, 
No. 2, No. 3, No. 4 and Sample grade, and, in addition, special grade 
designations are applied for certain conditions. The special grade 



24 



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25 



designations are: "Bright''.^ "Discolored", "Weevily", and "Smutty". Tte 
numerical grades are based on minimum requirements for test v/eight and 
maximum percentage limits for moisture,, damaged kernels, nongrain sorghums 
and total cracked kernels, foreign material and other grains. The standards 
also provide for the grading of this grain on a "Dockage" basis. 

Relative Value as a Farm Crop ■ ;• 

Of the so-called minor grains — sorghum, rice, rj^e, buckwheat, and millet — 
grain sorghioms are the most important in the United States from the stand- 
point of acreage, production, and farm value. In the semiarid regions of 
the United States they largely take the place of corn as a livestock feed, 
and are chiefly utilized as such on farms where grown. Table 14 shove's the 
average farm value and cash income from grain sorghums for all purposes in 
comparison with various other grains produced in the United States for the 
period 1935-39 and the years 1940 and 1941. The farm value of grain 
sorghums averaged 48 million dollars for the period 1935-39 and was 84 
million dollars in 1941. Tlie cash farm income from grain sorghums 
averaged 7 million dollars for the 1935-39 period and was 14 million dollars 
in 1941. - .. _- 

Table 14 - Farm value and cash farm income, various grains, 

average 1935-39, and the years 1940 and 1941. ,. 



^ 


Farm value 


Cash farm income 


Crops 


• Average 


• 
• 


': 194li/ 


Average 


\ 1940i/; 


194li/ 




' 1935-39 


: 1940 


1935-39 




> $1000 


$1000 


$1000 : 


> ^.1000 


.$1000 


$1000 


2/ 
Grain sorghums J 


48200 


61897 


83710 ■ 


7261 


8857 


U475 


Rice 


• 35864 


44208 


72476 < 


29685 


39902 


52855 


Rye ■ - 


• 22755 


17094 


24866 < 


12739 


8182 


13415 


Buckwheat 


4329 


3495 


4103 : 


1804 


1277 


1220 


Corn, all 


1435758 


1520047 


2012651 • 


262923 


387932 


351271 


l^eat 


609845 


554168 


894783 ■ 


451262 


427541 


702039 


Oats 


' 312317 


377171 


484070 ; 


51430 


57296 


84951 


Barley 


109233 


122953 


184244 


40791 


41270 


56027 



1/ Preliminary. 

2/ For all purposes. 



Harvesting Grain Sorghums 



One of the principal disadvantages of growing grain sorghums is the diffi- 
culty and cost of harvesting. Some varieties do not readily lend them- 
selves to harvesting mechanically, and harvesting by hand is too laborious 
to be practicable for large acreages. Much vfork has been done to develop 



26 



varieties adaptable to machine harvesting. 

Grain sorghums may be harvested by: (a) heading by hand or with a grain 
header, (b) cutting with a rovf binder or grain binder, (c) combining, and 
(d) various miodifications of these methods largely improvised hy individual 
farmers. For small acreages, vriiich do not vvarrent the c/ming of harvest- 
ing machinery, harvesting by cutting off the heads by hand is usually 
practiced. 

To be readily harvested by combining, grain sorghums must be rather short 
and regular in height, the stalks should be resistant to lodging, and the 
heads should be erect and should ripen as uniformlj^ as possible. Immature 
grain contains considerable moisture when cut and immediately threshed or 
when combined, and frequentlj"- goes out of condition during storage if the 
moisture content is too high. If a considerable proportion of the kernels 
is cracked in the threshing or combining process this also increases the 
danger of spoiling in the bin. 

USES 

Of the 94- million bushels average yearly production of grain sorghums 
from 1930 to 194-lj 85 percent vj-as consumed for seed and feed on the farm 
where produced. The remaining 15 percent was sold. (See table 12.) Of 
this latter percentage an undeterminable portion vras purchased by fanners 
for feed in the vicinity of its production so that the quantity actually 
entering commercial channels was appreciably smaller than 15 percent of 
production. 

Seed 

The quantity of grain sorghum used for seed is not capable of exact esti- 
mation owing to the diversity'- in the manner of planting, varietal differ- 
ences in size of seed, and the great variation in grov^ing conditions. In 
the principal grain sorghums producing region, rate of planting ranges 
from 2 to 8 pounds of seed per acre. An average figure would probably 
approximate 5 pounds per acre . Applj'ing this rate to the 1930-39 average 
grain sorghum planted acreage of 8.7 million acres for all purposes, gives 
an annual estimated requirement for seed of about 775^,000 bushels, or 
approximately 1-1/2 percent of grain sorghum production for grain. 

Feed 

Grain sorghums are used almost entirely as feed for livestock, and are fed 
principally on the farm, vrhere grown or in the immediate vicinity. This 
crop is to the grain sorghum producing region v;hat corn is to the Corn Belt. 

As was previously pointed out, grain sorghums are generally slightly higher 
in protein content but have a lower fat content than corn. According to 



27 



Morrison '±J , they are nearly as deficient in calcium as is corn, and, like 
corn, are lower in phosphorous than wheat, oats, or barley; all varieties 
are apparently low in vitamin A, and also deficient in vitamin D. The 
composition of the grain, green forage, dried forage, and silage of vari- 
ous sorghums is compared to that of corn in table 15. 

In general, grain sorghums are considered to have 90 to 95 percent of the 
feeding value of corn. Their value for feeding dairy cows and sheep is 
practically the same, pound for pound, as corn; for fattening cattle or 
swine, their value is somevfhat lov/er. VJhen properly supplemented vfith feeds 
rich in protein, calcium, and vitai:iins A and D, the go-ain sorghums are ex- 
cellent for all classes of livestock. 

All the grain sorghums are palatable to livestock except the brovm-seeded 
varieties v/hich contain tannin, or a substance similar to tannin, that makes 
them bitter to the taste. It is recommended that the grain be ground vfhen 
fed to all classes of livestock except poultry and sheep; othenvise the 
small hard seeds are apt to pass through the animal undigested. 

Results of experimental trials for growing fattening hogs by the Nebraska 
Experiment Station, Lincoln, Nebraska, are shovm in table 16. 

Grain sorghums, especially kafir and milo, are excellently adapted and 
widely used for poultry feed. They are sm.all enough in size to be readily 
fed without cracking or crushing. They are also used extensively in the 
manufacture of mixed commercial poultry feeds. 



U/ F. B. Morrison. Feeds and Feeding, 20th Edition. 



28 



Table 15 - Composition of grain, green forage, dried forage, and silage 
of specified sorghums with coriiparisons. 















Kitro- 


















> gen- 






Feedstuff 






Crude 


Ether 




free 








: Mois- 


Ash 


pro- 


ex- 


Crude 


• ex- 


Cal- 


Phos- 




: ture - 




tein 


tract 


fiber 


tract 


cium 


phorus 




: Per- 


per- 


Per- 


per- 


per- 


per- 


Per- 


per- 




■ cent 


cent 


cent 


cent 


cent 


cent 


cent 


cent 


Grains : 


















Corn, shelled 


12.9 


1.3 


9.3 


4.3 


1.9 


70.3 


0.01 


0.26 


Corn chop 


: 11.3 


1.4 


9.8 


4.1 


2.1 


71.3 


.01 


.26 


Feterita 


• 9.1 


1.7 


14.2 


2.9 


1.4 


70.7 


1/ 


1/ 


Kafir 


• 11.9 


1.7 


11.1 


3.0 


2.3 


70.0 


.01 


.25 


Kafir head chops 


■ 10.4 


3.9 


10.9 


2.5 


6.0 


66.3 


.09 


.20 


Milo 


9.3 


1.6 


12.5 


3.2 


1.5 


71.9 


1/ 


1/ 


Milo head chops 


10.4 


4.3 


10.7 


2.6 


7.1 


64.9 


1/ 


1/ 


Sorgo 


• 12.8 


2.1 


9.1 


3.6 


2.6 


69.8 


1/ 


1/ 


Green Forages : 


















Corn fodder: 


















Dent, immature 


79.0 


1.2 


1.7 


.5 


5.6 


12.0 


1/ 


1/ 


Dent, mature 


• 73.4 


1.5 


2.0 


.9 


6.7 


15.5 


1/ 


1/ 


Kafir 


73.0 


2.0 


2.3 


.7 


6.9 


15.1 


1/ 


■^1 


Sorgo 


77.3 


1.3 


1.5 


.1.0 


6.2 


12.7 


1/ 


1/ 


Sweet corn 


• 79.1 


1.3 


1.9 


.5 


4.4 


12.8 


1/ 


1/ 


Dried Forages : : 


11.8 


5.8 


7.4 


2.4 


23.0 


49.6 


1/ 




Corn fodder ; 


1/ 


Corns tallvs 


11.7 


4.6 


4.8 


1.8 


32.7 


44.4 


1/ 


1/ 


Corn stover 


• 10.7 


6.1 


5.7 


1.5 


30.3 


45.7 


.45 


ao 


Feterita fodder 


' 13.3 


6.4 


8.7 


1.9 


21.5 


48.2 


.27 


.19 


Hegari fodder 


13.5 


8.2 


6.2 


1.7 


16.7 


53.7 


.17 


.18 


Hegari stover ; 


15.1 


9.7 


4.5 


1.9 


26.6 


42.2 


.38 


.09 


Kafir fodder • 


9.1 


7.8 


6.6 


2.1 


28.4 


46.0 


.31 


.05 


Kafir stover 


12.6 


9.0 


5.8 


1.7 


27.5 


43.4 


1/ 


1/ 


Sorgo fodder 


11.6 


6.0 


5.3 


2.4 


26.0 


48.7 


.27 


.15 


Sorgo hay- 


5.8 


9.5 


9.5 


1.9 


26.8 


46.5 


.31 


.09 


Johnson grass hay ■ 


7.2 


7.2 


8.1 


2.8 


30.4 


44.3 


.55 


.40 


Silages: 


















Corn, immature : 


79.1 


1.4 


1.7 


.8 


6.0 


11.0 


1/ 


1/ 


Corn, mature ; 


70.9 


1.4 


2.4 


.9 


6.9 


17.5 


T/ 


V 


Corn stover ; 


80.7 


1.8 


1.8 


.6 


5.6 


9.5 


T/ 


V 


Hegari : 


66.3 


3.4 


2.3 


.8 


6.7 


20.5 


1/ 


1/ 


Sorgo : 


74.7 


1.4 


1.6 


1.0 


6.9 


14.4 


.09 


.04 



1/ Data are lacking. 

Source: Composition of the principal feedstuff s used for livestock. 

By N. R. Ellis, et al. Yearbook of Agriculture, 1939. U.S. Dept. Agr. 

For comparison with other feedstuff s see "Brevirers' and Distillers' ^- 
products and Yeasts in Livestock Feeding" A.H.D. 58, Bur. Animal Industry, 
U. S. Dept. Agr., 1942. 



29 



Table 16 - Relative feeding value per 100 pounds of milo or kafir and 
other feeds, as compared to corn for growing fattening hogs 



■y/hen price 


Relative feeding 


value of 100 lbs. of — 




of 100 lbs. 


Milo or : 


Cane : 


Yi/lieat 


: Hominy : 


Cane 


of corn is - 


kafir : 


seed : 


shorts 


: feed : 


molasses 


Dollars 


Dollars 


Dollars 


Dollars 


Dollars 


Dollars 


.75 


.68 


.56 


.68 


.71 . 


.60 


1.00 


.90 


.75 


.85 


■ .95 " 


.30 


1.25 


1.13 


' .94 


1.06 


1.19 


1.00 


1.50 : 


1.31 


: 1.13 


1.28 


1.43 


1.20 


1.75 


1.58 


• ■ 1.31 


1.49 


1.66 


1.40 


2.00 


1.80 


■ 1.50 


1.70 


1.90 


1.60 


2.25 : 


2.03 


. 1.69 


1.91 


2.14 


1.80 



Source: Extension Circular 216. Nebraska Agr. Expt. Sta. 

Table 17 shows the digestible protein and total digestible nutrient content 
of grain, green forage, dried forage, and silage of specified sorghums as 
compared Yvlth corn. 

■ ' Food . . ■■ ■■ _ ■ .-._ 



The early v\rhite settlers in the seraiarid regions of the United States depend- 
ed heavily on grain sorghums as an important source of food, especially in 
years of severe drouth virhen corn and wheat failed. Since then, however, 
grain sorghums have been used very little in the American diet. 

Nevertheless, flours may be made very easily from grain sorghums and their 
use adds pleasing variety to bread and other cereal products. Bavousett 
and Kleppe (see selected references, page 33), of the Home Economics Depart- 
ment of Texas Technological College, report that flours made from hegari, 
kafir, and Jellovr milo have been used in making various quick breads and 
yeast breads. They state that standard recipes for muffins, baking-powder 
bread, griddle cakes, waffles, or gingerbread may be modified by substi^ 
tuting flour made from hegari, kafir, or milo for tvj-o-thirds of the vdieat 
flour called for. More desirable results are obtained for yeast breads and 
biscuits by using half hegari, kafir, or milo flour and half vfheat flour. 

To make flour from grain sorghums, good quality threshed grain, well- 
matured and free of mold, is desired. The grain should be freed of chaff 
and dust by passing it through a fanning mill or other seed-cleaning machine. 
For grinding, a simple hand mill, a buhr mill, or a hammer mill, such as is 
commonly used for grinding feeds on the farm, may be used. ?/hen a hammer 
mill is used, a one-sixteenth inch screen gives a flour of desirable fine- 
ness-. If a hand mill is used, the flour should be sifted several times 



30 



Table 17 - The digestible protein and total digestible nutrient content of 
grain, green forage, dried forage, and silage of specified 
sorghums with comparisons, as determined for cattle, sheep, and 
swine . 











: Total dig( 


2stible 


nutrients 


Feedstuff 


', Digestible protein for - 




for - 






: Cattle 


: Sheep 


: Swine 


: Cattle : 


Sheep 


: Swine 




: Percent 


Percent 


Percent 


: Percent 


Percent 


Percent 


Grains 














Corn chop 


I __ 


__ 


7.7 


• 





82.0 


Feterita ; 


! 


10.9 


— 


; — 


81.0 


— 


Kafir 


: 9.0 


7.1 


8.5 


: 79.7 


70.9 


81.4 


Kafir head chops 


; — 


6.9 


— 


: — 


67.8 


— 


Milo 


! 8.3 


9.5 


7.6 


: 75.9 


85.6 


72.7 


Milo head chops 


: — 


8.1 


— 


! — 


76.0 


— 


Sorgo 


: ^.5 


4.7 


5.5 


: 71.8 


64.6 


1/ 69.3 


Green Forages: 


1.1 


1.1 


^^ 


i 11.2 


14.4 




Corn fodder, dent 


— 


Dried Forages : 














Corn fodder 


• 3.4 


— 


— — 


• 54.4 


__ 


__ 


Corn stover 


2.5 


2.1 


— 


• 53.4 


49.8 


— 


Kafir fodder ; 


2.5 


3.4 


— 


52.8 


54.3 


— 


Kafir stover 


2.3 


2.4 


— 


50.2 


45.9 


— 


Sorgo fodder 


3.3 


1.7 


— 


60.2 


49.4 


— 


Johnson grass hay 


— 


3.6 


— 


— 


53.2 


— 


Silages: < 














Corn : 


1.0 


1.1 


_— I 


17.5 


17.4 


^.. 


Corn stover 


.7 


.9 


! 


10.4 


10.1 


— 


Sorgo ! 


— 


.4 


! 


— 


16.1 


— 



1/ Crude fiber not included in calculation. 



Source: Composition of the principal feedstuffs used for livestock. 
By N. R. Ellis, et al. Yearbook of Agriculture, 1939. 
U. S. Dept. Agr. 



31 



through a fine sieve after grinding. The "grits" inay be either reground or 
cooked for breakfast cereal in the same manner as hominy grits. 

Industrial Uses . .. _ - " ■.. 

Sorghum grain to date has been utilized very little in industr;/. The 
relatively small quantity produced and its utilization aliaost entirely as 
feed has left no great surplus clamoring for industrial outlets. Hovrever, 
owing to the continued developm.ent of better-yielding and wider-adapted 
varieties and of varieties readily harvested by combining^ sorghum grain 
production may expand to proportions which will require industrial outlets 
to utilize them fully. The development of waxy varieties with their expect- 
ed specific industrial applications may result in the industrial utiliza- 
tion of a considerable quantity of sorghum grain. " ' ' ■' 

Starch 

The commercial use of sorghum grain in the manufacture of ?vaxy starch was be- 
gun in 1942. Experiments to test the practicability of using sorghum grain 
in the manufacture of starch are being conducted at the Kansas and Nebraska 
Agricultural Experiment Stations, and by the Starch and Dextrose Division of 
the Northern Regional Research Laboratory in connection with its study of 
starch from v/axy corn. The properties of the starch and the processing 
technique are being studied by industrial concerns as y^gII as by the above 
mentioned research laboratories and new uses and commercial applications 
are being sought. 

The extraction of pure-v/hite starch from varieties having a nucellar layer 
(source of its characteristic color) presents some difficulties. The pig- 
ment of the nucellar layer dissolves in the processing liquors and is 
adsorbed upon the starch granules. Modified milling and processing methods 
have, however, been developed by which white starch can be obtained from 
sorghum varieties containing the pigmented nucellar layer, lisocy varieties 
have been bred in which this layer is not present, and which, therefore, can 
be processed by methods more closely resembling those now used for cornstarch 
production. 

Alcohol 

Alcohol may be derived from the starch contained in sorghum grain by 
saccharification and fermentation. Although its commercial yield of alcohol 
compares somewhat favorably with that of other grains, (see table 18), the 
quantity which has been utilized as an alcohol raw material is so small that 
no data regarding its use as such are reported. It appears likely that, 
while ample supplies of corn and other grains commonly used for alcohol 
production are available, distillers will not use sorghum grain to any 
appreciable extent. Price relationships would have to favor sorghum grain 
very considerably to persuade distillers to use it in place of those grains 
to which they are accustomed. Hovirever, at least one alcohol plant has been 
using this grain extensively. 



32 



Table 18 - Quantity of alcohol obtainable from grain sorghiinis vfith 
comparisons. 









Probable commerci 


al yield of 99.5- 


Raw material 


: Y^eight 
per 


Average 
> fennentable 


percent 


alcohol 




Average 


Average 




' bushel 


content 


per bushel 


per ton 




Pounds 


Percent 


Gallons 


. Gallons 


Grain sorghuias ; 


56 


54.5 


2.22 


79.5 


Corn 


56 


57.8 


2.35 


84.0 


Barley 


^ 


54.3 


1.9 


79.2 


"imeat 


• 60 


58.6 


2.57 


85.0 


Malt 


3^ 


60.6 


1.5 


90.0 


Oats 


32 


43.6 


1.02 


63.6 


Rice 


45 


54.6 


1.79 


79.5 


Rye ; 


56 


54.0 


2.20 


78.8 


Buckvjheat 


48 


57.2 


2.00 


83.3 



Source: Motor Fuels from farm products. P. B. Jacobs and H. 
Misc. Pub. No. 327, U. S. Dept. Agr. 



P. Newton, 



GRAIN SORGHUiviS UTILIZATION RESEARCH 



Present and suggested researches on grain sorghums include determination of 
the influence of varietal, cultural, and environmental factors on the physi- 
cal and chemical properties and utility of the grain sorghums proteins, oil, 
and carbohydrates; studies on their mineral and vitamin content; studies on 
the utility of their carbohydrates, proteins, and oils for the manufacture 
of starch, alcohol, adhesives, plastics, paints, etc., and investigations 
on the malting properties, and the diastatic and proteolytic enzymes of 
grain sorghums to determine their adaptability for use in the fermentation 
processes and for other technological purposes. 



33 



SELECTED REFERENCES 

Ayyangar, G. N. R. , and KrishnasYvami, N. Histology and colouration of peri- 
carp of sorghim grain. Proc. Ind. Acad. Sci,, B. Vol. 14, No. 2 
(August 1941). 

Ball, C. R. Grain-sorghum experiments in the panhandle of Texas. U. S. 
Dept. Agr. Bui. 698 (1918). 

and Rothgeb, B. E. Uses of sorghum grain. U. S. Dept. Agr. 



Farmers' Bui. 636 (1915). \ 

et al. Oats, barley, rye, rice, grain sorghums, seed flax, and 



buckwheat. U. S. Dept. Agr. Yearbook, 525-532 (1922). 

Bavousett, N. D., and Kleppe, E. Breads from whole grain sorghums. Texas 
Technological College. Res. pub. No. 4, (July 1942). 

Bidwell, G. L. A phj'-sical and chemical study of the kafir kernel. 
U. S. Dept. Agr. Bui. 634 (1918). 

et al. A physical and chemical study of milo and feterita kernels 



U. S. Dept. Agr. Bui. 1129 (1922). 

Brandes, E. W. and Sartoris, G. B. Sugarcane: Its origin and improvement. 
U. S. Dept. Agr. Yearbook, 561-623 (1936). 

Coleman, D. A., et al. Respiration of sorghum grains. U. S. Dept. Agr. 
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Gushing, R. L. Leoti for starch. Univ. of Nebraska, Agr. Expt, Sta. 
Circ. 69 (1942). 

et al. Sorghum production in Nebraska. Univ. of Nebraska, 



Agr. Expt. Sta. Bui. 329 (1940). 

Ellis, N. R,, et al. Composition of the principal feedstuff s used for 
livestock. U. S. Dept. Agr. Yearbook, 1065-1074 (1939). 

Jacobs, P. B. and Newton, H. P. Motor fuels from farm products. U.S. Dept. 
Agr. Misc. Pub. 327 (1938). 

Karper, R. E. Inheritance of waxy endosperm in sorghum. J. Heredity. 
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Laude, H. H. and Svranson, A. F. Sorghum production in Kansas. Kansas State 
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Loeffel, W. J. YJhat corn substitutes are worth for hog feeding with corn 
at various prices. Univ. of Nebraska Agr. Expt. Sta. Ext. Circ. 216. 



3^ 



Martin, John H. Sorghum improvement. U. S. Dept. Agr. Yearbook, $23-560 
(1936). 

and Stephens, J. C. The culture and use of sorghum.s for forage. 



U. S. Lept. Agr. Farmers' &al. 18^/, (1940). 

et al. Growing and feeding grain sorghuj^is. U. S. Dept. of Agr. 



Farmers' Bui. 1764 (1936). 

et al. Harvesting grain sorghums. U. S. Dept. Agr. Farmers' Bui. 



1577 (1928) 



et al. Methods of harvesting grain sorghums. U. S. Dept, Agr. 



Tech. Bui. 121 (1929). 

Morrison, F. B. Feeds and Feeding, 20th edition, Jthaca, N. I. The Morrison 
Ftiblishing Co. 1939. 

Rommel, G. E. Farm products in industry. New York, N. Y. Rae D. Henkle 
Co., Inc. 1928. 

Rothgeb, B. E. Cultural experiments v^ith grain sorghums in the Texas pan- 
handle. U. S. Dept. Agr. Bui. 976 (1922). 

Scott, G. A. Feeding grain sorghums to livestock. U. S. Dept, Agr. Farmers' 
Bui. 724 (1928). 

Sieglinger, J. B. Grain sorghum experiments at the Woodward field station 
in Oklahoma. U. S. Dept. Agr. Bui. 1175 (1923). 

Inheritance of seed color in crosses of brovm-seeded and white- 



seeded sorghums. J. Agr. Res. Vol. 47, No. 9 (1933). 

Swanson, A. F. Seed-coat structure and ipiieritance of seed color in 
sorghums. J. Agr. Res. Vol, 37, No. 10 (1928). 

United States Congress. Regional research laboratories. Sen. Doc. 65, 
76th Congress, 1st session. 

United States Department of Agriculture Handbook of official grain standards 
of the United States. U.S.G.S.A. Form No. 90 (Revised 1941). 

United States Department of Agriculture. Waxy sorghums may substitute for 
imported root starches. Information for the press. (June 11, 1942). 

Vinall, H. N. and Getty, R. E. Growing and utilizing sorghums for forage. 
U. S. Dept. Agr. Farmers' Bui. 1158 (1936). 

et al. Identification, history, and distribution of common 



sorghum varieties. U. S. Dept. Agr. Tech. Bui. 506 (1936). 

et al. Sorghum experiments on the great plains. U. S. Dept. Agr, 



Bui. 1260 (1924).